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Air Asia Refutes Bribery Allegations, by Travel Radar Correspondent David Hopwood

  • Share prices of AirAsia/AirAsia X plummet in Monday trade
  • Allegations involve sponsorship of sports team
  • Investigations by Malaysian authorities come as consequence of Airbus settlement with UK, France & US authorities
  • Similar allegations involving Sir Lankan Airlines

The share price of the Malaysian AirAsia Group and its affiliate AirAsia X fell drastically today, Monday after allegations by the British Serious Fraud Office that Airbus paid a bribe of $50 million to secure orders from the budget airline group.

The share prices fell by 11% for AirAsia to their lowest since May 2016, while those for AirAsia X plummeted by 12% to an all-time low.

© msn.com

The allegations of taking bribes—which AirAsia strenuously denies—come as Airbus agrees a settlement with French, British and American authorities of $4 billion after a four year investigation. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the allegations as well as also whether the group broke securities law. Airbus would not comment on the investigations.

The issues with AirAsia and AirAsia x come at a particularly difficult time for Asian carriers as they struggle to cope with the decline in traffic due to the coronavirus outbreak in China.

© hksar.org

The allegations involve improper payments paid to directors or employees of the airline as sponsorship for a sports team over a period at some point between October 2005 and November 2014 during which the airline acquired 135 aircraft.

In other developments, a similar allegation is being investigated by Sri Lankan authorities in that Airbus had engaged the wife of a Sri Lankan Airlines executive as an intermediary and paid $2 million to her company between July 2011 and June 2015.

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